Cyberstalking is to stalk or repeatedly harass another person by using technologies. It involves electronic media like e-mail, sending offensive material to stalk or harass a person or group of people. It can include many things including threats, defamation, identity theft, solicitation for sex, false accusations etc.. A cyber stalker may be someone the victim is familiar with, or a complete stranger, and is a criminal offense.
Why should we be concerned?
Cyber stalking can not only be disturbing and stressful but it can also put you in danger of being attacked by the stalker either online or offline.
Few pointers / warning signs of cyber stalking
- frequent and multiple messages over a period of time
- Posts with inappropriate content and has details of your where abouts or personal aspects.
- Sending repeated emails
- Constantly follow you over your social media accounts.
How a cyberstalker may harm women?
- They may impersonate your online identity in order to harm your reputation or relationships with your friends/family/colleagues etc.
- They may access your social media account and can learn your online activities, your personal information and also can change your password.
- They may track your location by using GPS or some spyware.
- They may use abusive language while commenting on your post/photos on social media.
- They may try to gather your personal and sensitive information by interacting with your family/friends/colleagues etc.
- They may blackmail you to share your personal photos, videos etc which will very embarrassing to you.
Nowadays cyberstalking is becoming a big topic of risk for woman. It can become dangerous and can develop into physical abuse. Don't wait to report cyberstalking. The longer cyberstalking goes on, the more problem you will face emotionally, mentally or physically.
The fact is that cyberstalking doesn’t involve physical contact doesn’t mean it is any less dangerous than “real life” stalking. It’s not difficult for an experienced Internet user(cyberstalker) to find enough of the your personal information, such as phone number or your friends, relatives, your working place etc to stalk you.
How you know that you are a victim of cyberstalking?
When you feel some anonymous activities like –
- Someone visiting your profile maximum time in a day or a week
- Someone comment on your post or photos in a bad way or use abusive words.
- Someone ask about your personal and sensitive information on social media
- Someone ask photos and videos of yours
If you feel these types of activities, don’t ignore and immediately take action with respect to it.
Cyberstalking is difficult to defeat because the stalker could be in another state or sitting three cubicles away from the victim. In the anonymous world of the Internet, it is difficult to verify a stalker’s identity, collect the necessary evidence for an arrest and then trace the cyberstalker to a physical location, so it is always preferable to be secure and use the online resources very effectively without ignoring the security issues.
How can you safeguard yourself against cyber stalking?
- While using any social media it will always be better to restrict the privacy setting within your family & known friends.
- Before accepting any friend request always check the authenticity of the person on social media.
- Always disable your GPS from your device if you are not using it, so the stalker cannot get your location.
- If your online friend can ask your personal information or demand for any photos/videos never share with them.
- Always be alert what your online friends are commenting on your photos or any activities, if you feel that the comments are anonymous immediately block them.
- If anyone of your social media friend misbehave with you or do some anonymous activity report them through social media setting or block they , if after that also they will try to follow you don’t do delay for complaining about them in police.
What you should avoid to be safe from cyberstalking ?
- Don’t trust any online friends on social media.
- Don’t share your personal information/photos/videos publically on social media.
- Don’t share your location while posting your activities online.
- Don’t ignore the anonymous behavior of your online friends.
- Don’t delay to do complain if you feel that cyber stalking or any anonymous activities are happening with you, because it is not your fault.
What action can we take up in case we find affected by the offence?
- Register a complaint at your nearest cyber crime police station
- You also have the option to register an online complaint on cybercrime.gov.in
Know about what the Law Says with regard to this offence ?
As per Law Cyber Stalking is a punishable offence and attracts section 354 (D), 509 IPC, and section 67 under I.T. Amendment Act 2008.
Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) - When a person publishes or sends salacious material via electronic media is to be charged under Section 67 of the Act.
Data protection is very important to prevent cyberstalking which is easily leaked by hackers. For data protection, IT Amendment Act, Section 43A has been included the provision for the inclusion of a Body Corporate. If a firm or a company transmits sensitive information about a person, according to the act such body corporate will be liable to pay the damages by compensation.
Under Section 67 of the Act, when a stalker sends or posts any obscene content to the victim via electronic media then they will be liable to punish with 5 years of jail and Rs. 1 Lacs fine. If the incidence repeats then they will be liable to punish with 10 years of jail and Rs. 2 Lacs fine.
As per the provision provided in the law, when a stalker misuses victim's personal information to post an obscene message or comment on any electronic media, then this action is punishable for defaming and harming a person's reputation with imprisonment of 2 years, fine or both.
Indian Penal Code S.354D- According to the act, Stalking is an offence under Section 354D of the IPC (Indian Penal Code).
When a man is trying to communicate with a woman without her interest over the internet via email, instant messages or any other electronic communication is the offence of stalking.